I will admit I DO NOT make pizza dough, never have. But Jim (my husband) loves to make pizza dough, so usually he makes the dough I make the sauce and handle the toppings. Here's the thing though, I figured if he could do it, I could do it too! But how do I do it, and what's a good recipe?
Do you ever watch Mad Hungry? It comes on after Martha on the Hallmark Channel and Lucinda (the host) seems to know her stuff, occasionally after watching my idol (Martha) I will stay tuned to watch Mad Hungry. I found her recipe for an easy pizza dough on Martha's website and followed the steps, with only two slight variations of my own. The dough was just right, flaky and crispy -but not too crispy and just a little chewy. I think Lucinda hit it out of the park on this one. Check out Lucinda's recipe for a basic pizza dough here.
The sauce and toppings were all me baby! Jim thinks I hit it out of the park too! I love this pizza! I will no more fear pizza dough.
Serves 4 - 6
Combine a 1/2 cup of both milk and water in a mixing bowl.
Add in one package of active dry yeast.
It should look something like this.
Add in a 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, the yeast need food too :)
Give it a good stir to dissolve the yeast and let it stand for five minutes.
Meanwhile, measure out 2 1/2 cups of flour.
Back at to the yeast, add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
I love how this looks like an over- sized cracked egg, it makes me smile :)
Add in the flour.
Using the dough attachments for your mixer, mix on medium speed until a dough forms.
Next lightly flour a hard, flat surface where you can knead the dough.
Dig in with your hands and start kneading.
In case you're wondering those manly hands and arms are not mine, I figured I'd let the pro do this part...one of the many perks of marriage :)
There he is again! Work with the dough adding flour as needed until it is elastic-like and smooth.
Brush a flat bowl or dish with olive oil then spread the dough out in it and brush the top of the dough with olive oil. Cover and let sit for about an hour--this is where Lucinda and I went our separate ways, she wanted me to wait three hours, I however, wanted to eat dinner sometime before midnight!
While you are waiting for your dough to rise, coarsely chop up half a cup of Italian parsley.
Grab your pine nuts.
And throw the nuts and parsley in a food processor with some garlic cloves a little salt and pepper and olive oil.
For complete directions on how to make pesto see the Garlic Pesto Bow Tie Pasta recipe.
Pulse until the mixture is coarse and paste-like, set aside.
Meanwhile, slice one Roma tomato and a 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves for topping.
Back to your dough! Work with the dough with your husband's hands (or your own) to stretch and shape to fit a lightly greased pizza pan.
It should look something like this--this is the second place Lucinda and I disagreed, she prefers to split the dough and make individual small pizzas, I prefer to serve one giant family size pie.
Then add your pesto paste onto the dough.
Spread the pesto sauce around the dough evenly with a rubber spatula, leaving about a 1/2 inch of space from the edges.
Grate 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese, or save yourself some time and buy it grated.
Sprinkle the cheese over the dough evenly covering the sauce.
Place your tomato slices around the pizza evenly.
Sprinkle on the chopped basil evenly.
And finally, top it all off with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes until the crust and bottom of the pizza is a beautiful golden brown.
Remove from heat, and enjoy!